Access trusted expertise and enjoy the backcountry with confidence.

Authoritative gear research, comprehensive online education, generous community.

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Consumer Advocacy

Trusted Expertise

Generous Community

Learning how to thrive in the backcountry shouldn't be a chore.

Not having access to reliable, trustworthy information about outdoor gear and skills can cost you time, money, and energy.

  • Trying to figure out how to wade through mountains of bad info about gear and skills?
  • Trip, route, and gear research and planning: not sure where to start?
  • Are your outdoor skills not providing you with the safety and comfort when you need it most?
  • Do trolls and critics make your online community experience negative?
  • Hard to trust brand "ambassadors", "influencers", affiliate marketers, and others with commercial bias?
  • Are you wasting money on hiking and backpacking gear that overpromises and underdelivers?

As a Backpacking Light Member, you'll become a disciplined consumer, an expert backpacker, and a generous community member.

Become a Member

Backpacking Light Membership provides everything you need to be safe, comfortable, and confident in the backcountry.


  • Save money by learning what gear not to buy and why.
  • Save time researching and finding the right gear for you and your style of hiking.
  • Learn how outdoor gear is designed and used so you can be a more disciplined buyer.
  • Learn how outdoor gear is marketed and sold so you can be a more informed consumer.
  • Learn to evaluate true performance vs. manufacturer claims.
  • Learn and master comprehensive outdoor skills that keep you safe and comfortable outdoors.
  • Reduce risk and increase the chance of success by learning to plan backcountry trips with safety, competence, comfort, and confidence.
  • Share ideas and find joy as a member of a helpful, knowledgable, and generous community.
  • Become a backcountry expert so you can share your love of the outdoors with and teach others.
  • Learn from the original ultralight backpacking journalists, guides, educators, scientists and engineers in the outdoor industry.

Become a Member

Interested in backcountry travel? We can help.

Become a Member

Building trust requires a long-term commitment.

Our impact: helping hikers and institutions achieve their outdoor goals.

Backpacking Light has helped me tune my gear so I carry a lighter load but still have the comforts that make the trip enjoyable for me. I particularly like the in-depth analysis of gear such as the stove research.

Michael Woodside, Chattanooga TN

Backpacking Light gave me the knowledge I needed to confidently undertake a 900 mile PCT section hike. That hike changed my life, I can’t thank Backpacking Light enough for that.

Karen Kennedy, Alstonville NSW Australia

Backpacking Light's expertise was absolutely invaluable to NOLS when we started our Lightweight Backpacking Program. Ryan was quick to understand our programmatic needs and provide workable solutions and suggestions to ensure we were able to meet our lightweight goals.

Gary Cukjati, Lander WY

Backpacking Light connected me with the thinkers and tinkerers in the industry. It let me learn from the thought leaders in the area, and to contribute to the community.

Glen Van Peski, Bend OR

Backpacking Light Founder Ryan Jordan has been named one of the most influential Outdoor Ambassadors of the past 100 years: “An engineer by training, Jordan layered scientific method with a penchant for backpacking to change the way we evaluate choosing gear.”

Gear Junkie

Backpacking Light is home to the most fanatic pound-shedders on the planet!

Los Angeles Times

Our message is a beacon of truth.

As Featured In


active members


hours of online education


articles in our library


years helping hikers

How Membership Works



Select a membership plan and watch the onboarding video series.

  • Learn the basics of how to use
  • Discover what we offer and choose where you want to start your research and learning.


Ask your questions and share your ideas with our community.

  • Get answers to your most pressing questions right away.
  • Get to know our helpful, generous, and kind community members.
  • Share your own ideas and trips, get feedback, and enjoy relationships with like-minded people.


Stay up to date with new articles every week.

  • Stay up to date on new trends, tests, materials, technology, gear, and best practices.
  • Be inspired by thought-provoking essays and commentary.


Start taking our online courses at your own pace.

  • Start learning comprehensive skills right away, but at your own pace.
  • Discover new ways of doing things and pick the one that works best for you.
  • Learn practices that keep you safe and comfortable in the backcountry.

Become a Member Take the Tour

Founders' Letter

We're committed to building a community of trust.   Learn more

Members of the Backpacking Light community share this common vision: we love to spend as much quality time as possible in the backcountry, whether solo, with friends, our partners, or our families. And we also seek safety, comfort, and performance out there. To do that, each of us develops our own hiking style that includes the right gear, the right skills, and the right practices that allow us to accomplish the trips we want to take with confidence. However, trying to figure out what gear to use, what skills to learn, and who to trust can be incredibly overwhelming – because there is so much information online to sort out.

There are a lot of people on the internet who have enormous conflicts of interest or a lack of expertise when it comes to what they teach people about outdoor gear or skills. They are brand ambassadors, aspiring influencers, or affiliate marketers who get paid by product brands to say good things about their gear and enjoy financial benefits when you buy the gear they recommend. That’s not consumer advocacy – it’s deceitful at best and manipulative and untruthful at its worst. Don’t get suckered into this.

Unfortunately, this is how the outdoor gear industry (and many other consumer product industries) work today. We understand that spending time and energy wading through all of the info available online to learn about gear and skills is a huge barrier to growing into a disciplined consumer and backpacking skills expert. That’s why advocacy, expertise, and generosity are our core values, and why we’ve designed Backpacking Light Membership to provide you with trusted expertise so you can enjoy the backcountry with confidence.

Here’s how it works:
  1. Become a member and go through our onboarding video series, which will help you master how to use the Backpacking Light Website Platform so you can get started right away with finding research and information on gear, skills and trip planning.
  2. We’ll walk you through how to setup your community profile and use our community features so you can ask questions, get answers, share ideas, and learn to become a helpful and generous member of our community.
  3. We’ll give you a tour of our education platform so you can get started on the comprehensive online education we have to offer, so you can learn and master outdoor skills from trusted experts at your own pace.

The mess of information created by people seeking online “fame and fortune” (!) is just getting worse. So become a Backpacking Light Member today and start being more efficient with your time, money and energy as you begin your lifetime journey with us to help you research, learn, plan, and share on the way to you becoming a more confident hiker.

– Ryan Jordan, owner/founder

Frequently Asked Questions

What are your company's core values?

Great question. We acknowledge that some people will only spend money with companies that have values that resonate with them. You can review our company core values here.

Do you offer a money-back guarantee?

Yes! If isn’t for you, no hard feelings. We offer a 100%, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee for all membership types, courses, and treks.

What types of payment do you accept?

Credit card (processed via Stripe Secure Payments) or Paypal!

Will you keep my email address and personal information secure?

Absolutely! Under no circumstance do we ever divulge or sell your personal information, including your email address, to any third party, partner, advertiser, etc. Feel free to review our policies in detail.

Is my credit card information secure?

Yes! We use only the most reputable and secure encryption technologies, including 2048-bit (or higher) SSL when transmitting your payment information, one of the most secure payment gateways on the planet (Stripe), and fully-PCI compliant servers. And we don’t store any of your payment information on our servers.

Our Guarantee

Zero-risk: Love membership - or get your money back.   View details


Our Promise

Backpacking Light Membership comes with a 100%, money-back guarantee. A lot of companies say they offer this, but then attach conditions, asterisks, and fine print. We don’t do that. This guarantee is serious because we want to have a meaningful relationship with you, and a meaningful impact on your life.

Your Membership is guaranteed for its duration: if you purchase an annual membership, you can request a refund anytime before it expires. If you want a refund, drop a note to our Customer Support Team at [email protected] or call us at 406-640-HIKE, and you’ll have your money back within one business day, no-questions-asked.

Ryan and Stephanie Jordan

Become a Member

Feature Overview

Forum Posting

Post in our member forums, which feature over 150,000+ topics and more than one million posts.

Gear Swap

Buy, sell, and trade gear on our Gear Swap.

Post Member Articles

Post your own article content to our community including trip reports and blog posts.

Post Member Gear Reviews

Post your own member gear reviews.

Content Favoriting

Bookmark, save, and organize site content in your account favorites.

Live Member Q&A Events

Live-streamed (online) Q&A events, where we address specific topics via a short keynote address, solicit questions about that topic, and include an open Q&A for any other questions (not available to the public).

Article & Gear Review Library

Access all new content published + every article in our library - more than 4.5 million words in 2,500+ articles and growing. Gear, Skills, Test Reports, Stories, Issues, and more (not available to the public).

Online Course Library Access

Access all self-paced* online courses and webinars (*live courses not included) - 100+ hours of video and growing ($1,500 value as of 12/31/23).

Live Webinar Series

Enrollment in all live education webinars ($600 value).

Zoom Meetups

Collaborative live online meetups where we share experiences, ask questions, and discuss trends and best practices. Hosted by Backpacking Light Founder Ryan Jordan, Backpacking Light staff, and guest experts (not available to the public or other membership levels).

Earlybird Signups

Unlimited Members get early access to live events, live online courses, live in-person events, and guided treks (not available to the public or other membership levels).

Live Event Discounts

Unlimited Members get 20%-30% discounts on live online courses, live in-person events, and guided treks ($500+ value per year).

Merch Discounts

30% Off Backpacking Light Merch - apparel, drinkware, cookware, stickers, and more.

Minimal Ads, More Privacy

Unlimited Members are served 90% fewer ads from 3rd-party networks (e.g., Google Ads) that track individual users and collect your browsing data.

Compare Membership Plans

Select a Plan

Forum Posting Basic Premium Unlimited
Gear Swap Basic Premium Unlimited
Post Member Articles Basic Premium Unlimited
Post Member Gear Reviews Basic Premium Unlimited
Content Favoriting Basic Premium Unlimited
Live Member Q&A Events Basic Premium Unlimited
Article & Gear Review Library Basic Premium Unlimited
Online Course Library Access Basic Premium Unlimited
Live Webinar Series Basic Premium Unlimited
Zoom Meetups Basic Premium Unlimited
Earlybird Signups Basic Premium Unlimited
Live Event Discounts Basic Premium Unlimited
Merch Discounts Basic Premium Unlimited
Minimal Ads, More Privacy Basic Premium Unlimited
Pricing BASIC

$15 /  year


$45 /  year


$195 /  year

Select Membership



$15 /  year

Community (Post to Forums, Gear Swap, Gear Reviews, Trip Reports, and Blogs)

Select Membership



$45 /  year Most Popular

Community + Article Library Access (2,500+ articles, 4.5+ million words)

Select Membership



$195 /  year Best Value

Community + Article Library Access + Online Courses + More

Select Membership
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